Braised Short Ribs

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A couple of years ago my husband and I went out to dinner for our anniversary and I had braised short ribs and it was love at first bite! The meat was fork tender, the flavor was deep and rich, and it was simply heavenly. I had always said I’d like to try making them at home because it seemed so simple and now, almost 2 years later, I finally got around to doing just that.

I did a little research into different short rib recipes and while they were all fairly similar, I decided to go with  Gordon Ramsay’s Slow Cooked Short Ribs and adapted it only slightly. They were so simple to make and they came out absolutely perfect. The short ribs were so tender and flavorful and the wine sauce was out of this world!

In the original recipe Gordon calls for a pancetta lardons and chestnut mushroom topping for the short ribs. I didn’t have time to look for actual pancetta lardons so instead, I used regular sliced pancetta which worked out fine and imparted a really nice flavor to the meal. Also, I don’t care for mushrooms so I decided to caramelize sweet Vidalia onions in a little butter and use those on top of the short ribs in place of the mushrooms. I thought it was very good however, I LOVE caramelized onions so the substitution was a good one for me.

Short ribs are a low, slow cook so save this recipe for a day when you’re not pressed for time. The recipe calls for a cook time of 3 to 4 hours, my short ribs were perfectly cooked right at the 3 hour and 15 minute mark, in a 350 degree oven. I served the meat over a side of homemade garlic mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 6-8 thick cut meaty beef short ribs
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half horiontally
  • 1 heaping tbs of tomato paste
  • 1 (750ml) bottle of red wine (I used Bogle Merlot but any red wine is fine)
  • 4 1/4 cups beef stock (NOT broth)
  • 1/3 lb pancetta lardons OR sliced pancetta
  • 1/2 lb chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and halved OR 3 Vidalia onions, sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a deep sided roasting tray or large, deep pan over medium to medium high heat. Season the short ribs well with salt and pepper then fry them until they are really well browned on all sides, about 10-15 minutes total cooking time.

Add the halved garlic head, cut side down, pushing it to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and heat for a minute or two to cook it out. Pour in the entire bottle of wine to deglaze the pan, scrape up any meat bits from the bottom and stir. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10-15 minutes. The wine will become very thick and syrupy after reducing. Add the beef stock to the pan, making sure the ribs are nearly covered. Bring to a boil again and then baste the short ribs with the juices.

Cover the roasting tray with foil or a lid and cook in the oven for 3-4 hours, basting every now and again, until the meat is tender and falling away from the bone.

About 10 minutes before the short ribs are about to come out, fry the pancetta for 2-3 minutes or until crispy. Add in the mushrooms and cook for another 4-5 minutes until tender. Drain off any excess fat.

If you prefer to make the caramelized onions – Saute the sliced onions in 5-6 tbs unsalted butter over medium low to medium heat. Season with a little salt and pepper and let the onions cook down until they are richly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Move the onions to the side of the pan and add the pancetta, cooking until crispy. Once the pancetta is done, mix the two and drain off any excess fat.**

When the short ribs are ready, remove from oven, transfer the meat to a serving dish and cover. Remove the garlic from the pan and press through a sieve. Spoon off any excess fat from the cooking liquid then strain through a sieve as well and mix with the garlic. If the sauce its too thin, reduce the cooking liquid by heating it on the stovetop for about 10-15 minutes.

Serve the short ribs topped with the pancetta mixture, a hefty drizzle of the wine sauce, and garnished with fresh parsley.

**Tip** – Instead of using a sieve, I used a gravy separator to press the garlic and bits through as well as separate out the greasy oil from the rich wine sauce. It worked really well and the resulting sauce was extremely rich and flavorful, it also did not need to be reduced down any further.

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